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This Easter, stick to chocolate bunnies!

By Bobbie Mullins

Every year around this time, pet shops’ display windows start filling up with cute “Easter” bunnies. Who can resist those wriggly noses and fluffy cotton tails? My advice: You’re better off with the bunnies found in toy stores or candy stores—not pet stores.

The trouble is, a few months from now, many of those adorable Easter bunnies will have worn out their welcome, and what will become of them then?

I found out the answer when a neighbor discovered two domesticated rabbits hopping around in her yard one morning. We rigged a trap to nab the skittish bunnies, and I “temporarily” took them in. We later learned that the rabbits, now named Eddie and Lewie, had escaped from dilapidated hutches and that their owner didn’t particularly care if they never came back.

With Eddie and Lewie now permanent members of my family, I know that despite their meek appearance, bunnies are high-maintenance animals. They need to be groomed regularly and fed a high-fiber diet to prevent potentially fatal hairballs (rabbits can’t vomit like cats do). They are prone to a variety of health conditions, including upper respiratory and ear infections, tooth infections and misalignment, bladder stones and cancer of the thymus.

Rabbits are safest and happiest living indoors—those who are forced to live in cages outside can suffer and die from heat exhaustion in the summer and exposure in the winter. They are also at the mercy of prowling predators—even if a raccoon or dog isn’t able to get into the cage, rabbits can literally die of fright by being trapped with no means of escape. Continue reading This Easter, stick to chocolate bunnies!